Annual Christmas Hamper

Alida Vocal Studio cares about giving back to our community!

Every year students and friends of Alida Vocal Studio have generously donated towards our annual Christmas Hamper!

This year there is an extra bonus, when you donate an item to our hamper you will receive a coupon code for 10% off your next voice lesson booking.
Just drop off your donation to our studio before Dec. 8th, 2017 or bring it along to your next lesson.
To arrange for drop-off please email me:
We are collecting donations for a 9 year old boy as well as a 17 year old girl.  Below you will see some suggestions for their requests.
Boy, Age 9
– Favorite store – Mastermind Store
– Favorite colors – purple, blue, gold
– Hobbies/Likes –  Lego, Star Wars, Percy Jackson novels, age-appropriate non-fiction books, history books, “Spyro the Dragon”
Girl, Age 17
– Shirt size – 9 medium
– Pant size – large/x-large
– Favorite store – Spencers, Michaels
– Favorite colors – orange, green, purple
– Hobbies/Likes – drawing – sketching books, pastels, paints;  scrap-booking;  hoodies,
Let’s help make this Christmas a very special one for two foster children in need.  Gift cards, small gifts, anything and everything is welcome as long as it is unused and unwrapped.
Thank you for your generousity!

Scholarship for Musical Theatre Singers

We are so pleased to offer a new scholarship opportunity to study singing with Alida Vocal Studio.

This scholarship is for 2 new students of Musical Theatre who haven’t had any previous voice lessons with Alida Vocal Studio.

The Singing Student Scholarship is open to singers who are:

  • intermediate or advanced level
  • ages 19-35
  • singing in the Musical Theatre genre
  • have had 1 or more years of previous singing lessons
  • not currently studying voice with any other teacher
  • active in performing arts or would like to get back into performing
  • Musical Theatre performance experience (locally or nationally)
  • have completed a college or university program in musical theatre (not mandatory)
  • Offer is valid for 4 –  30 minute lessons (two of the lessons can be combined to make one full hour followed by two half hours)
  • To apply for the scholarship, please send an email outlining your vocal history, vocal goals and mentioning your experience with the criteria above to:
  • If you have met the criteria, we will then add your name into a draw
  • Winners of the scholarship will be announced on Dec. 15th, 2017!

Student Showcase Nov. 25th, 2017

In celebration of the hard work that Alida Vocal Studio’s clients have accomplished, we are pleased to present an afternoon of singing students from all styles of music! Come out and relax and enjoy! Bring friends and family along!

If you are a student of Alida Vocal Studio and you would like to sign up to sing, please email:

When: Saturday Nov. 25th, 3:30pm

Where:  One Thousand Rivers 54 East 4th Ave 2nd floor  (plenty of parking in the area and very close to transit)

The event is free, but please click here to register.

A Note on Vocal Rest

Vocal rest is crucial for optimal voice function and longevity and should be an active part of your life as a vocalist.  It is not often prescribed until the singer or speaker ends up with vocal conditions that prevent them from pursing their next venture.

Short-term vocal rest is taking a breather for a minute or two, to help prevent your voice from fatiguing during rehearsals or vocalizing sessions.  If you have been practicing for a good amount of time, let’s say 15 minutes, pause and silently go through the challenging phrase in your head while you rest your folds.  Or simply walk away from the music in front of you and then return after a few minutes.  You will probably be shocked at the result.  Studies show that with physical exercise, it is the rest period between reps that the muscles get the most benefit, growth and repair.  Just like with any other muscle group, when we take time to rest the voice we are giving the vocal folds a break from their active or vibrating state and they are literally gaining their strength back and recovering, plus your brain is processing the muscle memory that you just practiced.

“Vocal cords needs rest.  They benefit from small rest breaks here and there and longer stretches of silence after heavy use…even five minutes of rest helps the vocal cells recover from the pressure and vibrations of speech.”

– Joanna Cazden – Everyday Voice Care

Long-term vocal rest is usually recommended after a long run of a show, tour or especially when there has been a diagnosis of a vocal health condition.  This doesn’t mean you totally neglect the voice, in fact sometimes vocal rehab would be prescribed as part of the ‘rest’ period.  You may feel a little out of vocal shape after a long hiatus, but the good news is you can bounce back with regular lessons and vocalizing.

If you train consistently with periods of vocal rest your going to achieve vocal strength and balance which leads to much more success in your songs and performances.


Alida is a voice and music educator based in Vancouver, Canada.  A graduate of UBC School of Music, Alida holds an IVA Advanced Certificate in voice teaching. Alida has been teaching voice for 9 years to clients from the Lower Mainland as well as across Canada and worldwide on Skype.


Smart Practice Tips for Singers

Learning to sing amazingly well is like learning any other skill.  It requires our fullest attention, patience, time, effective and regular instruction and of course regular practiceBut it’s HOW we practice that makes a difference in seeing results.  If you are new to the process or have build up a lot of bad vocal habits that aren’t going away, here are some helpful hints to keep in mind when practicing voice:

Follow along with your lesson recording:

As hard as it is to hear our voices on a recording be sure to record your lesson anyway so you have a guide as to what to do in your practice.   Follow along with the recorded tools that were assigned and take into account what was said during your lesson so you can apply it throughout the week until your next lesson.

Practice shorter:

It’s not the length of time that matters, it’s the quality of practice that makes a difference to your progress.  In fact studies indicate that shorter and mindful practice sessions are more effective for the brain to actually create muscle memory.  If you are in the development stages of vocal training, try a 10 -15 minute practice daily.  If you have been working with an instructor for a while, step it up to 30 minutes daily.  Be sure to be present and mindful during the session.  Don’t go too long and fatigue your voice.  Take 2-3 minute breaks in your practice sessions so you can give your vocal folds a rest.

“If you aren’t feeling seeing or hearing any vocal progress after a while, it is most likely because you may need to reevaluate your practice strategy.  Booking regular voice lessons in the beginning phases of vocal development is crucial to ensure you are practicing right and being given the right exercises to make your way towards vocal success.”

Practice don’t play…yet:  

It can be fun and a good stress reliever to sing our cares away, but that isn’t productive practice and in fact you could be reinforcing poor vocal habits.  If you really want to take your voice to the next level, you may need to break down your song into sections.  Instead of singing the entire song from beginning to end, take little phrases and work them repetitively and slowly.  Take the lyrics out and work on the melody with some vowel/consonant combinations that were assigned to you in your vocalizing.

Check yourself in the mirror: 

Working in front of a mirror can be a wonderful way to highlight your habits.  Some of us don’t like to look at ourselves as we are highly critical.  Instead use the mirror as a way to constructively observe yourself as your sing.  What to look for?  Look for postural changes, facial strain or jaw tension, vowel formation.  Is your chin lifting up for those high notes?  The entire body should balanced, relaxed and in proper alignment.  When the body is involved in making the sound (for example lifting your chin during a high note) you are heading toward vocal strain and more prone to vocal injury over time.

Is it ‘taking too long’?  

Don’t panic if you don’t hear any automatic changes.  Also you may need to put up with not sounding so good in the beginning.  You are training an unused muscle to be able to meet the demands of challenging songs.  Learning to sing with proper balance and sounding amazing can be a long process.  Stay patient, go slowly and with daily practice you will start to notice your voice strengthening.  If you aren’t feeling seeing or hearing any vocal progress after a while, it is most likely because you may need to reevaluate your practice strategy.  Booking regular voice lessons in the beginning phases of vocal development is crucial to ensure you are practicing right and being given the right exercises to make your way towards vocal success.  After all, if you don’t use it, you lose it.

Alida is a voice and music educator based in Vancouver, Canada.  A graduate of UBC School of Music, Alida holds an IVA Advanced Certificate in voice teaching. Alida has been teaching voice for 9 years to clients from the Lower Mainland as well as across Canada and worldwide on Skype.

4 Ways Singing Makes Us Happier

We’ve all heard it before, regular exercise, good nutrition, adequate sleep and talk therapy are just some of the more constructive ways to beat the winter blues.  But it is also a known fact that music and creative arts of any kind are very beneficial to our overall health and wellness.  Singing is just one of those art forms that is easily accessible.  If you have a voice and you can speak, then you can sing!  Here are 4 ways singing can make us happier and more fulfilled and you can get started today!

It’s good for the brain.  And whatever is good for the brain, is good for our overall health.  Singing boosts serotonin and it can improve our mood and cognitive function.  It uses both hemispheres of the brain, both the left and right side so your brain is getting a workout.

“What has not been understood until recently is that singing in groups triggers the communal release of serotonin and oxytocin, the bonding hormone, and even synchronizes our heart beats.”- Cassandra Sheppard, The Neuroscience of Singing

It makes us present.  It’s literally a type of mediation because you are required to be present the whole time you are singing a song.  You can finally put your thinking mind to rest and focus on the lyrics and melody.  Singing may not make stressful situations change, but it can help prepare you to have a healthier reaction to stress because you have practiced being present.

It’s a form of creative expression.  Creativity is essential to our overall wellness.  Singing is another art form that allows us to express ourselves creatively.  And if the excuse is “I just can’t sing”  Check out this awesome quote:

“Just because some people can do something with little or no training, it doesn’t mean that others can’t do it (and sometimes do it even better) with training.” – Carol S. Dweck, PhD. (Mindset: The New Psychology of Success)

It’s an opportunity for self growth.  You don’t have to be a good singer to sing.  All you need is the willingness to use your voice and step outside your comfort zone.  You can improve your voice through working with a qualified instructor.  Joining a choir and singing with others can also be a wonderful way to test out your courage in using your voice.  Open yourself up to singing more today, even if it’s not perfect, take that courageous step and your body will thank you for it!

Alida is a singer and vocal coach based in Vancouver, Canada.  A graduate of UBC School of Music, Alida holds an IVA Advanced Certificate in voice teaching.  She is also certified in Speech Level Singing and is a member of NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing).  Alida has been teaching voice for over 9 years to clients from the Lower Mainland as well as across Canada and worldwide.  To book a voice lesson with Alida click here.

Dealing with Nerves in Performance

When it comes to using our voices publicly, whether singing or public speaking, a lot of us experience pre-performance jitters which can very well get the best of us. We approach the stage as if we are up against a ferocious lion, so naturally our survival instincts kick in.  Our bodies go into what the psychology world calls fight/flight mode.  But does fear have to overtake us, and are there strategies that can help us enjoy the art of public performance?  I was recently interviewed for a colleague’s video blog (see below) and was asked the question, how should a singer deal with nerves?   I think really comes down to one seemingly obvious word:  preparation.  There are two main components of preparation need to be focused on in order to achieve a successful performance.

Prepare your voice:

First off, prepare your voice for the demands of the performance.  Work with a qualified voice teacher to help you get to where you need to be vocally so you don’t have to think about how you’re going to get that high note in a power ballad, or how you are going to be able to  better project your voice for a dynamic speech.  Build a secure foundation of vocal muscle memory, so your voice is capable of meeting the demands of being on stage.  Strength train those vocal folds daily in a healthy balanced way through repetition of vocal technique exercises assigned by your voice teacher.   Also, keeping vocal hygiene a priority will make a big difference in the quality of your voice.

Prepare the rest of your body:

The second important aspect of preparation is preparing your body to work with the nerves.  Nerves can very well lead to anxiety and anxiety is our body’s way of telling us there is a potential threat.  However, our bodies don’t actually know the difference between an actual threatening situation and a thought.  We can change our thoughts regarding the situation and try to look at the aspect of performing as a positive experience – that there’s no threat involved.  Mindfulness meditation as well as visualization techniques have been used by professionals to help people achieve better awareness when it comes to controlling performance anxiety.  Dr. Noa Kageyama is a psychologist who specializes in performance anxiety and works with musicians.  On his website Bullet Proof Musician  he gets more in depth on the subject of performance anxiety and explains the different kinds of anxiety.  He also recommends helpful ways of preparing for performance.

“Many make the mistake of putting too much emphasis on trying not to be nervous. Focus instead on developing a more effective response to the inevitable nerves. Spend more time practicing performing, rather than practicing practicing.” – Dr. Noa Kageyama

Performance anxiety exercise:

One excellent tool Dr. Noa recommends, (which I have used with my own clients with excellent results), is rehearsing with an elevated heart rate – getting your heart rate up by running on the spot and then practicing the song or practicing the talk.  You may be out of breath, but doing this will get you used to the sensation of singing with a rapid heart rate.  After rehearsing that way you can become somewhat de-sensitized to the feeling of being nervous.

Need a quick confidence booster?

If you need a confidence boost, try pre-performance ‘power posing’ (hands on your hips or hands above your head) as outlined in Amy Cuddy’s book Presence.

To boost your confidence during your performance, try fixing your posture, which will also help you to get access to proper breathing.  Prior to going on stage, you can also try slowing down your breathing to calm your nervous system down.  (elongate your inhales and exhales)

Whenever you get the opportunity to use your voice publicly, remember to enjoy the process.  Yes prepare well, and then let go.  Take it all in.  Before your know it the performance is over and you may just find yourself wanting to do more!

Headshot for websiteAlida is a voice and music educator based in Vancouver, Canada.  A graduate of UBC School of Music, Alida holds an IVA Advanced Certificate in voice teaching.

6 Tips to Tackling High Notes in Song

Whether you are beginner singer, or have been singing for years, let’s face it, high notes can be intimidating and a great challenge.  As a voice teacher for the last 8 years, I very often get asked the question “how can I sing those high notes with power?”  Of course it comes down to training and practice, but here are a few hints to keep in mind and help you get started.

1) Vocalize higher than the note in the phrase.  Try a lip trill or tongue trill so you are getting use to going in and out of the head register area.  You have to make sure you ‘stretch and thin’ the vocal cords and the only way to do that is to ‘warm-up’ into that area and above.   Then you can hone in on that particular note in the phrase by using an arpeggio scale, so you are getting used to approaching the note.  Try an arpeggio scale on “wee” or “gee” or “mum”.  If your tendency is to go breathy on higher notes, try using an edgy “m.m.m” on the phrase to get use to resisting the air pressure.

2) Work the melody without the lyrics.  Instead use a vowel consonant combination such as “nay” or “gee” to help get comfortable singing on that note with a consonant and a vowel.

3) Try the lyrics now.  Ensure you are pronouncing the lyrics – both vowels and consonants clearly.

4) Check-in with your volume.  You don’t want to shout the high notes, that being said, you also need to ensure that you have an adequate amount of air pressure (or volume) on the onset of the note.

5) Check your posture.  If you are a ‘reacher’, meaning you are aiming for the note with your chin, ensure proper body alignment and posture in front of a mirror.  Keep your chin from moving up or down and ‘helping’ the note to come out.  If you are a ‘clencher’, ensure that your jaw is ‘un-clenched’ to allow for enough space in your instrument.  (this will from keeping your swallowing muscles involved in getting the high notes)

6) Don’t psyche yourself out.  If the brain gets too involved and you are overthinking this process, you may need to take a step back and approach it with ease and mindfulness.  Ensure that you are in the right space mentally and that there is no frustration, stress or strain present during your practice of the phrase.  If you need to, take a break and come back to it later on.

It’s important non to judge the sound quality just yet, remember get your voice to function well first before working on style and tone.  It make take a few days or week of practice before you can achieve proper balance.  If your voice is in balance, (not just all muscle or not just breathy) very often your tone will naturally improve.  Working with a qualified voice instructor can also help give you the tools to practice so that you you know what to specifically work on in your practice.

AlidaAlida Headshot 2015 is a singer and pianist based in Vancouver, Canada.  A graduate of UBC Music, Alida is also an Advanced Certified IVA singing teacher.

Singing: an Act of Courage

I once had a client who was very enthusiastic about discovering her voice, but couldn’t help but be fidgety while she sang.  She suggested that the reason she is fidgety while singing is because it was a way of her coping with the ‘discomfort of it all’.  Walking into an audition room, walking out on stage, a voice lesson, a recording session…those are some of the instances in which singers are faced with the courageous decision to use their instrument and all in front of an audience.  The audience can be supportive, encouraging, or highly critical; a mixed bag of responses.  Singing requires us to give ourselves permission to use our voices no matter what the response will be.

Author Michael Hyatt says “courage is the willingness to act in spite of fear”.  As singers, no matter how hard it may be to share our voices with the audience, the love of our craft outweighs the fear of disapproval of others.  Singing is being ok with diving into the unknown.  Whether you are just discovering your voice for the first time, or if you are a seasoned singer, it takes tremendous courage to push forward and let your voice be heard.  Even if you are polished singer who has studied the craft for years or you have prepared a lot for this big audition.  It is understanding that no matter how much rehearsal time you have had, you simply can’t predict the outcome of your performance.  The singer must be in a state of ‘not knowing’ and that takes tremendous courage.

Courage doesn’t mean resisting fear, it’s allowing the fear (or nerves) to be there, working with the nerves and going ahead with the performance.  In addition, singing is an act of courage because it requires us to be ok with being vulnerable.  The voice is such a personal instrument to begin with.  Then add in an audience, a stage, a mic…etc.  As best selling author/researcher Brene Brown puts it, “you can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability.”

Alida Headshot 2015Alida is a singer and pianist based in Vancouver, Canada.  A graduate of UBC Music, Alida is also a certified IVA singing teacher.

5 Ways Adults Benefit from Music Lessons


I recently had a family member tell me how ecstatic they were after their very first accordion lesson with an inspiring music teacher.  As a singing and piano teacher for the past 7 years, I have immensely enjoyed seeing the changes that the practice of music can bring to people’s lives, not just kids but adults too.

But somewhere between graduation and that serious job offer, some adults tend to push any creative pursuits to the side.  Many have forgotten that their past musical education or choir experience used to not only bring them joy but enhance their lives on so many levels.  Well, it’s never too late to start up again, and here are just some of the many reasons to make a music lesson a priority:

It contributes to better work/life balance.   Not having time is a big issue for some, especially being influenced by a culture of workaholism.  But with more and more companies understanding that work life balance leads to better employee productivity,  extra curricular activities are being encouraged in the workplace.  Some companies are now offering employee benefits that can be used towards such activities.  Booking that singing lesson means you have another activity outside of work to attend to.  It means you have to ‘switch off’ work mode for that hour.

It fosters mindfulness.  Studies show how mindfulness can lead to better health and wellbeing.  Music just like any other art form, allows us to escape the constant chatter of our thoughts.  The practice of playing a musical instrument or the practice of singing takes us a bit further.  In a world where multi-tasking is a full time job, music can allow us to focus and be present which will reap rewards for our health, while lessening anxiety and depression for some.

It helps us escape electronics. When was the last time we weren’t glued to our phones or tablets or computer screens?  With a one hour music lesson, you are forced to shut off the madness from the outside world and really connect with what’s in front of you.  It’s a nice breather to hold an instrument vs holding a phone. Or to actually vocalize and use your voice, instead of typing in words in a text message.

It enriches brain health.  Playing a musical instrument and singing require the use of both sides of the brain simultaneously. Studies show that studying music can improve memory and cognitive function.

It sets an example and is inspiring to those around us.   The practice of music requires focus, determination and discipline.  This can be inspiring for those in our lives including children.  I am reminded of a fabulous quote by Marianne Williamson:  “…as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.   As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Alida Headshot 2015

Alida is a singer and pianist based in Vancouver, Canada.  A graduate of UBC Music, Alida is also a certified IVA singing teacher.